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Another Comcast Security Fail

Comcast Fail 2Looks like Comcast has dropped the ball, again. (Read about the first such story here). This time the results were way more tragic.

This time, this “big corporate security” failure actually led to the gruesome assault of a teenage boy during a home invasion. What’s worse, the boy’s mother had attempted to have the right equipment installed into her home, only to be blown off.

In a lawsuit filed against Comcast and their contractor, Pioneer Cable, the family argues they’d been promised a “secure network” — with which both the “stay” and “away” functions would keep the basement motion detector active.

That’s why, [Leena] Rawat says, the company saw no need to arm the basement window.

“I actually stood right in front of that window and I have a clear picture in my head where I said, ‘Why don’t you have sensors on this window?” she said.

In reality, she says, the basement motion detector was off. But in Comcast’s contract, they waive all liability.

“If their argument is to be accepted, they could put in empty black boxes throughout the house and say, ‘That’s your system.’ And then something goes wrong, and they say, ‘We never promised you it would work,'” said Ken Friedman, attorney.

No one was sure, not even his doctor, that Deep Rawat [her son] would survive.

USA Today

There are a couple of takeaways here.

1. Don’t use a company that outsources their security installations. Pioneer Cable (and this is just speculation) probably misunderstood the system and made promises that Comcast couldn’t keep. Why? Because Pioneer Cable isn’t a security expert, that’s why. It’s a subcontracting company that installs cable TV. Motion detectors are usually disabled on “stay” mode so the people living in the house don’t set it off. There’s no such thing as a “secure system” that keeps the motion on during both modes. The entire purpose of “stay” and “away” is to shut that motion detector off and on. Leena Rawat shouldn’t have been expected to know that–she’s the homeowner. It’s on the security company to explain exactly how the system works and to be expert enough to know that.

2. Feel comfortable insisting on any equipment you think you might need. Yes, you’ll probably have to pay extra for anything that doesn’t come with the basic system. No, you’re not a security expert.

But you still have to live in that home, you still know the neighborhood, and you still have to feel secure. If you want contacts on a window then you have the right to buy contacts for that window and to see them installed. Once upon a time we might not have been able to get contacts in some places, but
JSB, at least, has wireless contacts that can go on awkward windows, so this excuse is no longer valid.

This is also a really good argument for going with a wireless security system in the first place, since it offers you that sort of versitility.

Rawat is actually pretty unusual. She saw security holes and was prepared to pay in order to get them filled. So why weren’t they filled?

We’re not sure. Usually when we’d see an installer trying to talk a homeowner out of installing something it’s because the installation is going to take more time, energy, and materials than that contractor is willing to expend. We’ve seen this attitude before. But we don’t really know what was going through the Pioneer installer’s head that day.

3. If you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum–that is, you just want to get in and out of your installation while spending as little as possible–you may want to rethink that stance. Saving money is important. It’s just as important to get the job done right.

So if our security specialists recommend something, consider making the purchase. Our specialists are trained to spot issues in your home. If we suggest additional contacts, for example, we’re not doing that just to make a few extra bucks on a sale. We’re doing that because we literally see a security hole that we really would like to plug up for you.

4. Please, please, please go with a company that does security and ONLY security. It can be us. It can be someone like us. We’re not telling you this just to get your business. We’re telling you this because we’ve seen stories like this ever since big companies that do everything but security started expanding into the security market. Security is a bad product to add to a “bundle.”

Your life doesn’t depend on your television service. Your life doesn’t depend on your Internet service (though we know sometimes it feels like it does). Bundle those services all day long.

Your life absolutely could depend on your burglar alarm, fire alarm, and carbon monoxide alarm. Please work with a company which actually cares about this service enough to make the service its sole reason for being.

It’s a dangerous world. If you trust us, please call us today to protect yourself and your family. A home invasion can be a life-altering experience, and those life changes are never good ones. Nobody should ever, ever have to face one.

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